sickVisionz (Level 24)

I'm realizing that I have NO CLUE about what's airing in Winter 2014 and no idea what to watch.
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So, I always heard a lot of great things about Bakemonogatari. Well, in all honesty I can't remember any specifics about what I heard so maybe I should just say that I've heard Bakemonogatari mentioned alot around the anime world. Yep, I'll go with that.

*reset*

So, Bakemonogatari is a pretty popular title around the internet but I never actually got around to watching it. I did watch Katanagatari, based off of a light novel by the same author, and I fell in love with it. When I heard that another series of his was going to be animated, I knew I'd be there day one. Well, that series is Nisemonogatari, a direct sequel which I believe is a direct sequel to Bakemonogatari.

Nisemonogatari
Nisemonogatari

This immediately brought up a problem: I've never seen Bakemonogatari and this is a sequel. The series isn't available legally on any streaming sites and I don't watch fansubs anymore so there is basically no way I'm going to watch it before NiG (my clever way of shortening all of these xgatari series). Would this be a sequel like Ghostbusters 2 where you really don't need any familiarity with the prior movie to pick it up or is this like jumping headfirst into Matrix Revolutions without having seen any of the other films? The mystery awaited me.

Well, less than 30 minutes ago I finished the first episode of NiG and here's what I thought. Now a caution: I have done ZERO research into the prior series so all of this is solely based off of one episode. Also, I'm going to try and present this as unedited as possible.

Act 1

Ok, the first that hit me were the visuals. As you can see in the picture below, this entire part is shot drawn in super wide screen film aspect ratio. Additionally, there is crazy bloom lighting all over the place. I thought to myself, well even if the show is confusing and I don't get it, it is cool to look at. Outside of the art style, the animation is pretty nice as well and shots are framed up in pretty cool way.

It's got black bars like a movie!
It's got black bars like a movie!

So anyways, that was my "I've been watching for 5 seconds" thoughts. As for the situation, some guy named Koyomi got kidnapped by this cute girl named Hitagi. From the outside looking in, they seem to have some type of history. She seems a little off in the head and says that she loves him, but hey, women can be crazy, right? No real shock about any of this. So, there's some sexual innuendo going on between the two of them but she really seems kinda crazy in love. I thought this was pretty interesting to watch and it made me curious about what their history was.

Now, one very important thing that I feel should be brought up. This act also immediately brought the first episodes of KaG (Katanagatari) and Tatami Galaxy to mind for one reason: they talk... a lot. Well, no. That's not really why. They talk a lot in the first episode of Fate/Zero but it's not like this. NiG reminded me of those shows because of the speed at which they talk. Everyone speaks like the Micro Machines guy or the person at the end of a car commercial that turbo charges their way through what should be like 10 seconds of legalese in 2 seconds flat. It's not quite as bad as Tatami where I eventually just gave up and came to the conclusion that you weren't supposed to catch everything being said, but it gets close to it.

Anyways, cool segment. It got my attention.

Act 2

So, somehow Koyomi is now in his house. I don't remember exactly how it transitioned to it and, keeping in line with my unedited style, I'm not going to go back for clarity. Plus, meh. I don't remember being puzzled at the time so I'm sure the transition makes sense while you're watching it.

Anyways, this segment I think this segment introduces Koyomi's sister Tsukihi. I don't really remember what her name was because #1 I'm terrible with English names of real people, let alone Japanese names of fake people and #2 everyone calls each other Oni, Ani, Nee, etc so it's not like you get the chance to have the named drilled into your head anyways. ANYWAYS, the two of them are talking and it really reminds me of, I want to say Tatami Galaxy because everything is really visually stylized. The house they stay in is very stark and they do a lot of cuts they keep what might be a boring scene visually interesting.

This is also where more anime tropes start coming in and the dialog calms down. Sometimes this stuff can make me groan but with this show, it grounded it more for me and put me into a comfort zone rather than making me facepalm. I think it's because I'm new to this entire world that obviously has a lot going on and if I was treated to another throw you in the middle of it scene I might have started to feel lost.

It wouldn't be anime if teenage characters weren't introduced via an upskirt shot now would it?
It wouldn't be anime if teenage characters weren't introduced via an upskirt shot now would it?

So as you see, we get some service and Koyomi calls up this chick who is clearly and obviously in love with him, everyone else on the planet seems to be aware that she is in love with him, but duh, he's totally oblivious to it all. It's executed a lot better than I may be making it sound and the oblivious to love thing actually made me chuckle with how they did it.

Also... dude was a vampire. I like how they kinda just casually through that in there in the middle of a nice scene between a teenage brother and sister.

Act 3

At the end of the previous act, Koyomi decides to chill out with the girl who he doesn't know likes him. He invites his sister to come, but having a brain and knowing that the girl obviously wants him to come alone, she declines. So, on the way to ole girl's house Koyomi sees a little girl and goes on a Zetsubou Sensei-esque inner monologue of much debate, confusion and explaining (safe to assume these two have a complex history, although I incorrectly thought they were enemies at first) before running up and giving her a huge super duper silly hug.

Ahh, isn't that just the cutest thing you've ever seen.
Ahh, isn't that just the cutest thing you've ever seen.

Now, I'm pretty sure this girl is a vampire or some sort of monster since her immediate reaction to someone creeping on her from behind was to sprout claws and scamper up a light pole like a squirrel. This act is both my favorite out of the three and the most... what would call "tricky" since Koyomi is constantly talking about how he wants to lick her or see her panties. It seemed weird and kinda out of the blue and I couldn't tell if he was joking because at some points the duo seemed like old friends catching up with each other and then in other parts dude is plotting to see her undies. Anyways, I had the courage to sit through and enjoy it for what it was.

Takeaways

Continuity

It's Tricky...Tr-tr-tr-tricky (Tricky) Trrrrrrrrrrricky
It's Tricky...Tr-tr-tr-tricky (Tricky) Trrrrrrrrrrricky

I got through the first episode and I have to say, I never felt particularly confused in a bad way. I don't know all of the character backgrounds and histories, but everyone's relationships with each other were laid out well enough for me to understand where they stood with each other, which I'm hoping is all I'll need going forward. If you've been hesitant about watching this without having seen BaG, definitely check it out.

Visuals

I really love the visuals. The character designs look like a lot of other shows, but the art style, particualrly how things are lit and colored really stands out. I can't recall anything similar to it.

Weekly Shaft Construction, Inc Special: pay for 3 broken walls and the 4th is free
Weekly Shaft Construction, Inc Special: pay for 3 broken walls and the 4th is free

I also LOVE the shots that they chose. There are a lot of interesting angles with things overlapping each other to create visually interesting scenes that could potentially be really drab if and boring if done any other way.

Comedy

The show has a lot of funny moments in it. The 4th wall is shattered multiple times and there a lot of subtle little jokes and lines here and there that you could miss if you're not paying attention, which I love but don't see enough of. It also has a few straight up you're supposed to laugh at this gags that are pretty funny as well.

I Bid You Adieu

Well, that's that. Definitely a worthwhile way to spend 24 minutes and like any good episode, it grabbed me enough to want to see what will happen in the next one. You can watch the series online via Crunchyroll at http://www.crunchyroll.com/nisemonogatari

Picture Gallery

-William Taylor ( sickvisionz ) is lazy by nature, procrastinator by trade. You can also find him on Twitter @mrsickvisionz and on Tumblr at In My Lifetime.

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I just started watching this series a few days ago and marathoned my way through it. Pretty good show but thing that stuck out the second most about it (the first being a super super hot redheaded slut maid with enough service shots to rival an anime) was this from the "Halloween, Part 1" episode was this:

She's reading Nana, which is my favorite manga. She's pretty early in as, that's volume 1, but I thought this was super cool. I might be late on it since it's called "Halloween, Part 1" and it's mid-November, but this really made my day. So much that I decided to do a creepy teen girl imitation photo:

I don't know if I should actually be happy as *spoiler alert* this girl isn't exactly well adjusted, but hey I'll give the thumbs to someone writing that she was reading a manga and there wasn't really any focus on her reading it, it was just another book that kids read.

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I really loved the last Bleach filler arc and I've wanted to do something about it for a while now but I was never sure what exactly it should be. A week or so ago I got the idea to do an AMV with all of the fights in it, but I decided that might be a bit much considering this is my first time doing something like this. Instead, I decided to dedicate a video to my favorite character from the arc: Kageroza Inaba / Oku Yushima.

The process was pretty fun, although it really stressed to me how much I need a new Macbook. I wanted to make it HD but it was taking over an hour transcode 2 minutes from a 720p MP4 so I decided to go SD. Not to mention that I almost burnt myself touching the bottom of it the laptop after it had been cranking for an hour. Chopping the video up was pretty straight forward... time consuming, but straight forward. Playing around with the music and audio brought up a couple of challenges in getting things synced up and have to splice a few songs up here and there to make things work. My background with music and audio production helped out a lot with getting those parts right enough. Some things stick out like a sore thumb, but I think that's my ears. Messing around with sound effects was interesting too.

All in all it was a lot of fun to play with. I plan on doing ALL of the characters' fights, but I finished up episode 319 and wanted to get some feedback on it. I'd LOOOOOVE to hear what you all think about it.

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For the next couple of weeks I will be completely open and work free so I decided what better way to cure the boredom than to try out of a bunch of "new" anime series on Crunchyroll? After literally browsing through the entire catalog I settled on the following shows for a wide variety of deep and well thought out reasons such as I think I might have heard something positive about this from someone on some site at some time and this guy reminds me of someone from another series.

SeriesReason
Star DriverI saw an episode in the past and kinda enjoyed it, but never picked it up. I can't think of anything better to do with my time right now so a series like that might actually be able to hold my attention.
The Mystic Archives of DantalianGainax made this and I have faith in them.
R-15I haven't seen a super perverted series in a while... and by a while I mean one season.
Saint Seiya: The Lost CanvasI read somewhere that some character in the franchise has an Aizen-like power and Aizen is one of my favorite characters.
Hanamaru KindergartenI think I read that Gainax was involved in this and I have faith in them. Plus, the character designs look silly and different.
Sasameki KotoI enjoyed Aoi Hana, a yuri romance that was serious so I figured I'd give this a shot.
GA Geijutsuka Art Design ClassPerhaps the worst reason on this list: I enjoyed Working and another series that were based off of a 4-panel comic so I figured I'd give this one a shot since it was based off of one as well.
Glass MaidenI saw a few episodes of this in the past and thought it was ok but I didn't feel like downloading subs for it so I never finished it. Additionally, it's only 12 episodes so I'm closer to finishing it than any other series I can think of.
07 GhostAlmost everything I read in the series description was a turn off but the opening line was, "Teased unmercifully for his past as an orphan and a slave..." I haven't seen a depressing show in a while and that line makes me think this could be the depressing tragedy that I've been searching for.
Super Robot Wars OG: The InspectorA long time ago I wanted to fall asleep while watching anime and I decided to watch the first episode of this. A guy got brutally killed in a very psycho Allelujah Haptism type of way and I decided to turn it off and watch it when I wasn't so tired. Years later, I'm checking it out.

I'll be tackling them 3 at a time and seeing what sticks and what doesn't. I set a rule that I would watch no less than two episodes of a series before dropping it, but that got broken on the very first show. With no further ado...

GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class

What I Thought Going In

I didn't have any expectations about this other than figuring that there wouldn't be an overarching plot and that it would be a bunch of mini episodes in every episode.

What I Got

Lucky Star + Nichijou - Nice Animation. I'll explain that a little more. People ramble on aimlessly about art techniques and concepts in a way that's very similar to how Lucky Star characters might go for 10 minutes just talking about how they eat ice cream. If I was an art design student, that in itself might be interesting enough. Unlike Lucky Star, I could at least tell that they were trying to be funny and make jokes. Similar to Nichijou, the jokes fell flat 90% of the time.

What I Did

I was super meh on what I thought was the first episode but I was prepared to stick by the two episode rule to see if maybe episode two would be more up my alley. That went out the window when the mid-episode commercial spot came up and I realized that what felt like 30 minutes had only actually been 15 and that I'd have to sit through 3 more of these.
DROPPED
Watch @Crunchyroll
Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas
Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas

What I Thought Going In

Based off of nothing more than the costumes in the picture above and reading in a Battle forum thread that someone has super illusion Aizen-like powers, I figured this would probably end up as a pretty low budget show with crappy looking fights but there might be at least one guy who does interesting stuff in these crapy fights. If I wasn't literally sitting at my house all day getting bored of video games, I never would have given this a shot.

What I Got

Well, it kicked off with a full English OP, which was funny to me. I was most impressed by how high quality the animation was. The story is standard generic shounen fare, but there were some dark elements and characters that should be killing people and doing twisted things later on. By episode two I was pretty happy I gave this a shot. My attention span is low though.

What I Did

If the story stays as mediocre as it is and they go for a few episodes without nice animation and battles, I will probably drop this in search of something better. But for right now it's more than delivering, especially since my generic shounen but cool fights series that I watch every week (Bleach and Naruto Shippuden) are in the crapper right now and will probably be there for another month or two. At the least, I'm probably going to be in it for 13 episodes or until the Aizen-power guy shows up, whichever comes first.
PICKED IT UP
Watch @Crunchyroll

What I Thought Going In

Well, originally I just watched this in hopes of being able to fall asleep to it so my expectations were crazy low. I actually thought this would be like those chibi Super Robot Wars games.

What I Got

An intro that sounds like some late 80s or early early 90s power rock. That was awesome. After that, I got Gundam 00 but goofier. This show exudes G00 to an extreme degree, almost to the point that I think they might be related. Some leader gives a speech in a room that looks identical to one used in G00 and they even use the same font to tell you what location a scene is taking place in. Outside of the plagiarism/inspiration that rivals Fairy Tail, this show has been pretty kick ass in a silly way. The fight animation is on par or better than G00, the female mech has nipples on it (this instantly reminded me of Batman Forever), breasts jiggle at every possible opportunity, Aizen's voice actor is in it and he might be playing a shady snake in the grass character, and people get killed in awesome Gundamy ways.

What I Did

It should be obvious that I'm sticking with this one. I haven't seen a mech series since G00 and this one is definitely scratching that itch. Plus, it's super awesome in all the right ways. It's interesting though, the silliness of Star Driver was initially a turn off to me yet this show is just as ridiculous yet that's the appeal. Well, that and Aizen being in it.
PICKED IT UP
Watch @Crunchyroll
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Now, my memory may be foggy and perhaps the series explained all of this in the early episodes that I saw 5+ years ago, but boy oh boy it seems to me like Karakura Town would be one of the worst places to live ever.

Wanton Destruction

Thanks Kageroza! I always thought my factory needed a massive hole in the roof.
Thanks Kageroza! I always thought my factory needed a massive hole in the roof.

Times are rough for the Karakura business owner. Being a small business owner is already hard enough. Taking out loans and incurring massive debt to follow their entrepreneurial dreams, the long hours and stress that comes from getting a business off the ground. Most business fail, but imagine actually growing one into a self-sustaining entity and the pride that comes from that. Now imagine coming in one morning to find that someone completely destroyed the building or did a Kageroza and Ichigo and decided your building was missing a massive hole in the roof and rectified the situation. Building/buying buildings isn't cheap. Having yours destroyed is likely going to be game over for most small business. How do you even convince people to start up companies when the town has a bad habit of having buildings falling apart all the down, craters randomly appearing throughout the city, and all the other things that result from the fighting, invisible fighting, that takes place in the city?

City-wide Memory/Time Loss

The citizens celebrate "Sleep in the Streets Day".
The citizens celebrate "Sleep in the Streets Day".
This one is specifically for the Decide Arc where the real Karakura Town was moved to Soul Society and a fake town brought in as a replacement. That's all fine and dandy for destruction, but what is going to happen when people wake up thinking that it's Wednesday only to find out that it's Thursday? How many citizens who commute outside of town to work got a no call, no show on their work record with absolutely no way to explain it? Think about how many phone calls come into a city everyday and the gamut of reasons behind them. For this one day, everyone in Karakura Town vanished from the face of the Earth. There was an important business meeting to finalize the merger of two companies? Karakura Town never showed up and wouldn't answer their phones. Someone was supposed to pick up or drop off their children with their ex? They never showed up. The government was competing with other towns to bring a business to their city? They just lost that contract.

Visitors and satellites were greeted with this bombed out view of the city.
Visitors and satellites were greeted with this bombed out view of the city.
And that's just phone calls and video chatting. What if someone actually tried to visit Karakura Town. What will they find? A city completely destroyed by explosions, building toppled, schools destroyed, banks obliterated, and apartments collasped? Or maybe their car or bus was destroyed when they were driving 60+ MPH on the highway and ran into an invisible force field surrounding the city. This would be it's own one day mini-crisis for the entire country as one city and its citizens essentially disappeared without a trace for an entire day.

Overall Weird S***

A slight vermin problem.
A slight vermin problem.
Even if we take away the destruction and odd memory loss, Karakura Town is a bizarre place to live. It's like some town in a horror movie that is flooded with paranormal activity yet the town is either oblivious to it or has taken the approach that if they never talk about it, then it doesn't actually exist and all is well. Numerous students at Ichigo's school have been possessed by ghosts or taken control of by paranormal artifacts. Some citizens have even been kidnapped and killed by these creatures yet the town moves on like nothing happened.

Blatant Drug Fronts, Child Labor Violations, and Possible Pedophilia

He may be selling pills, but I don't think they're candy.
He may be selling pills, but I don't think they're candy.
I can't confirm it but from first hand experience I have a strong suspicion that this guy is continually under the influence of marijuana and possibly designer drugs. His eyes are crazy low, he's always way too relaxed given the situation, and he runs a "candy store" that never seems to have customers yet has been in business for years. All of these are red flags for suspicious activity. Not to mention the young children that work at this so called "candy shop". Umm, child labor laws? These kids are like 11 years old. The boy seems to be well enough adjusted but the young girl is obviously suffering from some type of severe emotional trauma. Also, who are these kids? They obviously aren't Kisuke's and they aren't his partner's either. Additionally, are these kids even going to school? The more and more I look at it, the more and more it seems like some sort marijuana/designer drug pedo-cult.

Despite all of this, there hasn't been a mass exodus of people abandoning the city like Tokyo-3 from Evangelion. The citizens seem to be cheerful and happy to go about their day-to-day lives despite the huge risks that simply wouldn't exist if they moved elsewhere. So, what do you guys think? Are there other anime cities worst off than Karakura Town?

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